Telcos line up for 3G & wireless spectrum

The government has fixed Rs 3,500 crore as reserve price for pan-India 3G spectrum and Rs 1,750 crore for Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) services. The auction for 3G spectrum begins on April 9 which will be followed by auction for BWA. Going by the reserve prices, the government will garner about Rs 20,000 crore. However, the bid price may go quite high as the number of operators in the fray far outweighs the number of slots available in both services.

The government will be selling spectrum to three players across the nation with the exception of a few states where four slots will be on offer. According to the Notice Inviting Applications (the detailed guidelines), only Punjab, Bihar, West Bengal, HP and J&K will have four private players offering high-speed content download and broadband services (3G). For BWA, only two slots are on the block. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, RCom, Tatas, Idea Cellular have bid for both 3G as well as BWA spectrum indicating aggressive bidding for both types of airwaves. The last date for submitting applications expired today.

While Etisalat and Videocon have bid for 3G spectrum only, US-based chip maker Qualcomm, HFCL, Tikona and Spice are understood to have put in their applications for BWA. The successful bidders would be allowed to offer 3G services on commercial basis from September 1.

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